Mumbai meat shop owners demand use of portable kits to detect meat type
The kits would differentiate between beef and other meat, thereby preventing raids on shops which sell mutton and chicken.
Almost a week after meat from Madanpura was seized by the police, owners of meat shops have written to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, asking him to arrange for portable kits to detect the type of meat being stored or traded.
About six months back, the Forensic Science Laboratories in Maharashtra had announced that around 45 forensic vehicles would be equipped with ‘Cow Meat Detection ELISA Kit’, to check the sample of meat seized. However, there was no clarity from the department whether these kits have been provided to police personnel.
The kit works like a pregnancy test kit, wherein once tiny pieces of meat are put into the detector, there is change of colour if the meat in question is beef. The reagent in the detector reacts only to cow meat.
“Various meat shops are raided by the police on tip-offs given by political organisations. However, since the police personnel do not have kits, they end up seizing meat which is mutton and not beef. We don’t know if tests are conducted to ascertain whether or not the meat that was seized was beef,” said Irfan Machiwala, a social activist, who has written the letter.
The Maharashtra Animal Preservation Act of 1976 was amended in 2015, where apart from slaughter of cows, the slaughter of bulls, bullocks and calves was banned too. The act states that the slaughter of these animals is a non-bailable offence, punishable with five years of imprisonment.
Machiwala added that with the rising violence in the name of cow protection, these kits would help maintain communal harmony.
In the letter, Machiwala and Mahim resident Farooq Dhala have urged the state government for immediate arrangement of beef portable kits because repeated seizures were causing inconvenience during transportation of meat for daily consumption, and their festivals.
“In the last ten days, mutton shops have been raided twice claiming that beef was being sold. If a portable kit is provided, then these traders won’t suffer losses, because within half an hour, the police can determine if the meat carried is beef. The meat that is sold and brought in the city during festivals is mutton, and not beef; our religious sentiments should also be respected,” said Dhala.
Waris Pathan, member of legislative assembly (MLA) from Byculla, said no such kit was used when the raid was conducted in South Mumbai.
“There was no procedure that was followed in this case. It doesn’t seem like the mobile kits have been implemented,” said the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen MLA.
Last week, minister of state for animal husbandry Arjun Khotkar, had said the government was exploring the possibility of amending the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, 2015, so that bovines with certain infections can be culled.